About Me & Contact

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Dance nerds unite! I am passionate about classical and traditional dances from India and South Asia, and their glittering moments in Indian cinema and documentaries is the subject of this video-focused blog. Unearthing rare and archival clips is especially of interest, and I tend to focus on dances from South India in South Indian Cinema. I have also recently developed an interest in historical and critical writings regarding the evolution of dance in South Asia, in and outside of cinema, over the past two centuries and beyond.  Academic research that explores Indian dance forms in cinema and their social history is few and far between, but I hope to give some more attention to and highlight some excellent scholarly work on the subject. 

I wasn't much of a dance person until a few years ago when I discovered the classical dances of India and fell in love with them. Not only are the dance forms my favorite world-wide in terms of aesthetics, they are also rich in complex meaning, musical accompaniment, and history. I really like classical dances as they appear in Indian films which is the subject of my blog these days (though it began with film reviews from my days at Bollywhat- thank god I've switched focus because review writing is not my forte!).  When I first became interested in finding classical-based dances in Indian films, I had a hard time finding much information on the subject.  It became even harder when I discovered the world of classic Indian film dances back to the 1930s!  And so I created/fashioned this blog to share my passion for these dances and find other souls with similar interests. It's a labor of love and I love every bit of it!  :)

My blog is really a video-focused blog that not only describes these film dances (and sometimes other dances/related topics) in detail but also offers the chance to view them! I got so tired of reading allusions to so many film dances but not being able to visualize what was being discussed.  Many of the dances I post about are ones I personally tracked down and uploaded for the educational purpose of discussing the dance; I know the few dance nerds out there like me will totally dig this effort.

Why the title Cinema Nritya Gharana? Cinema = movies, Nritya = expressional aspect of Indian Classical Dance, Gharana = school/style of Indian dance/music. Thus, this blog is a place for me to share my "school of thought" regarding Indian films, Indian Classical Dance, and other related matters of importance!

Personally, my name is Cassidy (nom de blog "Cassidy Minai") and I am a white chick living in the snowy US state of Utah who secretly dreams of being an archivist, dance historian, or librarian...in a great job market with a great salary. :) To read a bit about how I came to be interested in Indian films and dance at the beginning, see my "How South Indian Films Stole My Heart" post.  My blog pen-name is inspired by “Minai-ware” that I learned about in a college Islamic Art class, and my profile pic is of the luminous Indian actress Shobana.

I welcome any comments or dance nerd chatter at kasuvandi *a t* gmail *d o t* com!

Fair Use Disclaimer

I believe my blog is in compliance with Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act which allows for the limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the rights holders if the usage falls under the definition of "fair use" as determined by the four "fair use" factors. 

Purpose and Character of Use. Copyrighted works are posted/embedded on this blog for the nonprofit purpose of criticism, commentary, scholarship, and research. Many of the works are old, difficult to find, and no longer widely distributed. It is in the public interest to showcase and discuss these old works that have, in some cases, fallen into obscurity. None of the copyrighted works on my blog are presented alone; their use is transformative and presented with commentary that adds expression and meaning to the visuals and in some cases presents background, analysis, and historical information that greatly enhances the public understanding of the work. I use only as much of the work as is necessary to accomplish my goal of discussing and presenting a lesser-known work.

Nature of the Copyrighted Work. I use primarily fictional works (and some nonfiction articles) that have been published in some way.

Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used. I nearly always feature full-length video songs which are only a portion of the full-length feature film they are a part of. This usage is necessary to pair with my commentary and criticism of the video songs.

Effect of Use Upon the Potential Market for the Copyrighted Work. Given that I usually feature only a small portion of full-length films, this use does not have a significant effect on the market value for the work because the full length film is still of interest to others. However, many of the video songs I feature are difficult to find or no longer available in any “established market.” Most of the works I present are long past the point of gaining significant income for the owner.

In addition, I make an effort to identify sources and owners wherever possible; screenshots used fall under the above definitions of fair use.

23 comments:

  1. Holy Cow !! Are you Really a white chick ? the collection in your blog and the depth in commentary on telugu or south indian film industry is incomparable to most of my friends. Who ever you are. Hats off Chiquita !! I am a telugu guy, Shobhana's fan living in Norway as of now a student. I dont know how i found it. But i am so glad i did. Bless you. i have not seen any one having such wealth of info on dance that too on Indian classical dance form.

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  2. Hi anon - You know, I didn't realize Holy Cow was a phrase used outside the US until I heard the song Kolaveri Di! Glad you find the blog enjoyable and happy to meet another Shobana fan! Tis true, I am a white chick, guilty as charged. ;)

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  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujP4uOx_De4&feature=related
    The same anonymous.

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  4. I was wondering if the username Kvammayi in youtube is you.

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  5. ^Yes, that channel is mine. Many of the dances there were discussed here.

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  6. Hello

    We are very interested in your work. How can we get in touch?
    Regards
    Shastram
    www.shastram.org

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    1. Hi Anon - You can contact me via email at kasuvandi@gmail.com.

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  7. Hi,

    Somehow I landed to this site.. And I am flabbergasted. I am amazed to find a non Indian so passionate about Indian dance & Indian movies.

    I read most of the articles/reviews. I agree to many of your comments and disagree to few.

    Keep writing.

    I am a movie buff. I generally enjoy old movies for the music & performaces and the new one for the technical stuff.

    I would be regular visitor of your blogsite...

    One question, Now you have seen so many Indian movies, do you understand any Indian language?

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    1. Sina - Welcome! Thank you for the encouragement. The language question is a good one. Unfortunately, I do not have any knowledge of any language from India other than a few words here and there of a few languages and being able to tell them apart in general. Since I watch films from many different parts/languages of India, it's too hard to get a good grasp on any one of the languages, and even if I wanted to learn one I wouldn't know which one to pick! :) At this point I rely on English subtitles, inference, and Indian friends to translate. :)

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  8. Hi Minai :
    Excellent reviews and write ups - i am a classical dance artiste based in Singapore/ Mumbai - i just chanced upon your blog as i too am interested in dance in indian movies.Great work Siri Rama

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    1. Hello! I am always happy to hear from others interested in Indian film dance. Thank you for the compliments. :)

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  9. I honestly thank my luck today for being introduced to this fantastic wealth of information you have shared with us. Truly unbelievable work. God Bless you and please continue your awesome writing. I am a classical dancer and trained in Kerala Natanam style and I feel so honoured to have been trained in this style by Guru Gopalakrishnan who was a student of Late Guru Gopinath. All his choregraphy is so simple but beautiful and I just love that old traditional style .He has choreographed for a couple of films as well in the 60's.

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    1. Hello Anita--Thank you for the appreciative comment. It sounds like you found my blog through my posts about Guru Gopinath--I hope you've seen the rare videos of him at NetFilm! Such great footage. Come back soon! :)

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  10. Recently stumbled upon your blog, just wanted to say hi :)
    Interesting finding other white-westerners sharing the same love/fascination with Indian cinema.
    I got bitten by the bug a number of years ago when chancing upon a UK/Ch.4 broadcast of 'Madhumati' and was simply enchanted with the music/song & dance; I quickly became an avid devotee of Vyjayanthimala and her delightful performances.
    Recently been going through much of tommydan's excellent youtube archives, and now I find a wealth of material to explore here on your blog...I can see now I have some catching up to do ;)

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    1. Hello JimiJam74 (nice name! :)) Nice to "meet" you. I am not surprised that Vyjayanthimala captivated you! Padmini is probably not far behind if you're not familiar with her work already. :) Do have fun exploring, and let me know if there are any videos with broken links that you are interested in seeing. I do try to go through old posts to update videos, but I don't always catch them all. Hope to see you around again! :D

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    2. Yes, I discovered Vyjay's dance 'rival' Padmini relatively recently, I must explore her performances some more.
      I've been putting together this YouTube playlist this last month - 'Indian Song & Dance' by 'JimiJam74' - I threw a few of Padmini's dances in there that I found. You can see some of my highlights/favorites discovered on my travels into Indian cinema/music/dance so far - I imagine you'd already be familiar with a lot of the content in there.
      I intended/hoped it might serve as a sort of cross-section/introduction for anyone interested and maybe new to Indian dance/cinema - trouble is it gets longer and longer as I find new stuff to include!
      I started out focused on the dance, along with some of its classical origins, but most recently got diverted/lost in Lollywood/Pakistani cinema and became enchanted/transfixed/borderline-obsessed with the singing of Noor Jehan.
      It's just possible I may have added one too many of her songs to my playlist ;)

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    3. JimiJam74 - I'm sure you will enjoy my post yesterday on a new Vyjayanthimala film dance discovery! I linked to your upload of the dance in New Delhi because the quality is very nice. I checked out your Indian Song & Danceplaylist, and you have a ton of classics in there! I was happy to see you included the Manipuri dance in Sujata. I just discovered it recently and it will be included in a post I'm working on about Manipuri film dances. And you have Sujata Mohapatra's Odissi dances--she is simply divine. That channel also has other videos of other Indian classical dance forms filmed in a similar way, with English subtitles, that are great to watch for beginners. I especially love their Bharatanatyam (Anita Ratnam) and Manipuri (Bimbavati Devi) videos. When I read that you have detoured into Pakistani cinema and the songs of Noor Jehan, I knew I had to inform you about Richard who maintains the blog Dances on the Footpath. His interests have taken a similar path as yours, and he knows quite a bit about Pakistani singers and mujra dances. ~Minai

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    4. Hi again, just got back to your blog..
      I was actually looking at your Vyjayathimala 'Folk Dances' playlist - it was the one from the Tamil movie 'Penn' that caught my eye since it looked much like the one from the Hindi movie 'Ladki' I was familiar with (I now realise are versions of the same film) - look similar, but not the same! - Did they film it twice, or just cleverly edit different versions/songs?
      I came here to see if you had featured either films/dances and that, funnily enough, led me to the very post on Vyjayanthimala you mention...a nice find indeed! Some lovely sharp dancing, and nice to see her doing some more facial expressions you see in a longer classical performance. Gotta love the climatic vocals, but like you say the edit of the dance doesn't quite deliver a climax to match.
      Happy to have some of your approval on my playlist ;)
      Sujata Mohapatra - simply divine - I wholly agree!
      She puts me in a trance whenever I watch one of her Odissi performances - such fine movements, rhythm, and lovely facial expressions :D
      I'm just recently discovering these different classical forms that inspire the film dances myself, like Manipuri - I look forward to your post on this.
      I had briefly passed over Richard's blog on my travels - I must go back and look closer to see what he has on Pakistani cinema/dance/music - although I may have satisfied my curiosity on my detour for the time being; I think I feel the pull/fascination of perhaps exploring some more of the classically inspired dancing again...
      ~Jim.

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    5. Hi JimiJam74, The question of whether multi-language film dances were filmed separately or at the same time but re-edited has fascinated me quite a bit! I haven't analyzed the Penn/Ladki/Sangham dances yet, so it is hard to say. :) I'm happy to hear Sujata has enchanted you--she seems to have that affect on just about everyone. :D ~Minai

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  11. Hi !

    Greetings from Madras/Chennai ! I stumbled upon here thru a posting of your blog in today's HPI (hindu press international) newsletter and amazed to note your passion on this art form. Though living in the neck of the woods of Kolaveri De, never once heard it and you surprised/beat me there :). Being a member of a group called 'Vintage Heritage' might answer the reason for not swing by Kolaveri. VH screens a film a month that was made between 1930-1960 - of course lots of classical based music and dance ! Time to time, they screen only videos of music/dance from vintage Tamil films and last evening was one such. We do plan to do one in Vyjayanthi's presence soon and were talking about it even last evening.

    Anyway, if time permits, you may want to take a look at my blog ananthablahblah.wordpress.com ....certainly not exhaustive and regular as yours but may find one or two on dance. As I've not delved deeper, sure you must have covered the famed duo SaiSubbulakshi in your blog. Also, I see your high regards for Sujata and no doubt she deserves in the present day, but would suggest to look at Sanjukta P, the inimitable Odissi dancer in my and so many other's books !

    Best,
    anantha

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    1. Hello Anantha, I recall seeing your blog in the past and the "blah blah" part of the URL is a great memory aid. :) Thank you so much for letting me know that HPI had included my Jack Cole blog post--I had no idea! I just posted about it on my blog's Facebook page along with some news about a related dance production. Thanks again! That Vintage Heritage group you're a part of sounds great! I assume Vyjyanthi's epic dance-off with Padmini is Vanjikottai Vaaliban has been or is planned to be screened! Yes, I have discussed Sayee-Subbulakshmi extensively and I'm very proud of my two most recent posts on them which you can read here. I haven't found any video of Sanjukta's film dances but did discuss her in my post on Odia film dances...see my Odissi-related posts here. She is such a towering veteran dancer in the Odissi dance world for sure. Great to hear from you, do stop by again! :) ~Minai

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    2. Hi Minai, nice to hear back !

      Yes, Randor used to introduce the films with his 'dramatic flair' at our VH screenings until recently but backed off lately 'cause of age +, though he continues at the Vintage Hollywood monthly screenings that I'm not part of. Hope you got to see that SaiSubbu dance in my blog...from the film 'Arivali'. I uploaded the same in YT as well under the name Vrichika..one of my favs !

      I don't believe Sanjukta was ever in films and neither is Sujata I believe...you'd know better. I kept thinking about taking a trip to Bhuvaneswar to meet up with Sanju's husband Panigrahi again and chat about his times in Vintage Tamil films (you'd find one of his playbacks in my blog on them), but regrettably he passed on quite recently.

      Though not dance-centric, would suggest you skim through dhool.com. Also, AN AMERICAN IN MADRAS page on FB. This docu was doing the rounds in the USA very recently. If I can be of any from Madras, please feel free. Best, anantha

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    3. Oh so you've met Randor at these VH meetings, how exciting! Yes, I've seen Sayee-Subbulakshmi's quick dance in Arivali--they were so speedy. It is sad that so many people who were part of the old film days are leaving us one by one and taking their memories with them. Ah yes, An American in Madras! I've been following that doc on Facebook...I really hope I get the chance to see it some day. Pleasure to have met you, I hope to see you around here again soon. :)

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